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How I survived my recent move and stayed connected through it all

Lisa Iscrupe

Aug 17, 2020 — 6 min read

Moving soon? Get some firsthand tips and tricks for setting up internet service at a new home from our newly-moved staff writer.

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Moving is stressful and a lot of work — but it can also be an exciting time with new beginnings. That said, there’s not a person among us that wouldn’t love a few ways to make moving just a bit easier. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of moving during one of the hottest days of the year (mid-July, who would’ve guessed?) and in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Fortunately, this wasn’t my first move, so I had an idea of what to expect. 

What I hadn’t planned for were the snags that came with moving into a new house that was essentially not yet “on the grid,” combined with moving delays due to the ongoing virus. 

Since both my husband and I work remotely (WFH), getting our internet appointment confirmed well ahead of time was a big priority for us. Working in the internet and telecommunications industry helped me anticipate delays in installation times due to COVID and because summer is the height of “moving season” in general.

Ordering service

I ordered my service online two weeks before our move. I recommend (and had planned) to order earlier than that, but, you know, procrastination. From speaking with our home builder and checking on allconnect.com, I already knew the two options for internet in our new area were either Spectrum or AT&T Fiber

We decided to go with AT&T since they were offering 1,000 Mbps for $49.99/mo. (for the first year) with free installation and a free subscription to HBO Max. And, as an extra surprise, the day I signed up for service, AT&T had an offer for $200 in Visa Rewards Cards as well! We decided to rent our modem and router from AT&T, so that added an additional $10 to our monthly bill.

Ordering online was quick and easy, and there was even a place in the order flow for me to write in directions to our new address. It was odd, however, that the only internet option listed for AT&T standalone internet was 1,000 Mbps. No other speed options were available. 

The installation

On the day of our installation, I planned to be at the new house while my husband and a friend packed up the U-Haul at the old home. I was running a little behind, but luckily the AT&T technician called ahead to let us know he was on the way, so I was able to meet him just in time.

Our technician was wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, so even though he did have to briefly enter the residence, I felt comfortable because he was following safety measures. 

A brief roadblock 

Although this was no fault of the AT&T technician, we did have a brief snag regarding installing wires and drilling into the side of the home. Namely, our builder had told us that the house was fully-wired for all internet services. So, when the AT&T installer informed me that he would need to run lines to the home (from the box in our front yard) and drill holes in our house, I was a bit caught off guard. 

However, I quickly realized our builder had been mistaken (our home was only pre-wired for cable, not fiber). Plus, I figured that our technician would not have voluntarily spent close to two hours outside (Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year?) if it wasn’t necessary. 

After the installation

Our tech did a great job installing the inside wiring in a non-obtrusive location. He asked us prior to installing our service where we preferred our modem, so we chose to put the equipment downstairs, where I mainly work, but directly below the office, where my husband works. 

The installer showed us our modem and router setup and showed us where the default network name and Wi-Fi password was on the equipment. We took a photo on our smartphones so that we would have that info handy later. He also told us we would be receiving emails about the service and a survey to review our installation experience. (5 stars all the way!) 

Outside the home, our technician showed us where he ran the fiber-optic cable from the box to our house, and told us that another person would be coming by within 7-10 days to bury the line. True to his word, a man with a Ditch Witch showed up about a week later and buried the line with almost no issues, besides the casualty of one of our yard sprinklers.

Final thoughts

Ordering service and getting it installed on time went great. It was a bit hectic trying to get service installed on our actual move-in date, but we wanted internet right away and didn’t get the keys until after closing the day before. Pro tip: If you have a day in-between closing and moving, set the installation for that day. 

I recommend having a computer available at install to test the internet speed, which we did not. However, I did run several speed tests in the days and weeks following our install to see if we got the advertised download speed of up to 1,000 Mbps. The results were very surprising. 

  • First test: Tuesday, 12:45 p.m. Download speed of 100 Mbps
  • Second test: Thursday, 2:00 p.m. Download speed of 210 Mbps
  • Third test: Friday, 1:30 p.m. Download speed of 30 Mbps (while connected to my VPN). I disconnected from the VPN and then got a result of 215 Mbps. 

I was confused by my speed test results and the fact that I was routinely getting just 100-200 Mbps. To be clear, this speed is more than fast enough for our daily online activities, but the delta between the advertised and actual speed was unexpected.

Reasons the speed test results may have been slower than expected:

  • There was one other laptop and two smartphones connected to the Wi-Fi at the same time during all three tests.
  • I don’t connect my computer with an Ethernet cable but rely purely on Wi-Fi. 
  • I sometimes connect to a VPN.

But we have a plan to boost our Wi-Fi. We are going to experiment with optimizing our router settings. We also plan to purchase our own equipment in the coming months to avoid paying the AT&T monthly rental fee. 

Internet installation recommendations for movers:

  • Plan to get internet set up right away, especially if you WFH, teach remotely or take online classes. Even if you don’t do any of those activities, remember that moving may require lots of other online actions, such as registering new appliances, changing voter registration and updating your driver’s license, to name a few.
  • Order your new service and schedule your installation appointment at least two weeks in advance — especially with COVID-19 considerations.
  • Make sure someone over the age of 18 will be home when your technician arrives.
  • Ask your landlord, realtor or builder if the house is pre-wired and where the access points are.
  • If any new wiring is going to take place, make sure you know about any restrictions on drilling or digging on the property ahead of time.
  • Think about where you want the modem and router beforehand and communicate that to your tech before they start working or drilling holes in the wall.
  • Before your technician leaves, ask about network name and passwords, or any other info relevant to using your new service. And don’t forget to promptly change your passwords.
  • Test your internet speed on the day of installation and in the following weeks for accuracy.

Find other ways to get the most out of your broadband by following the Resource Center and signing up for our weekly Allconnect newsletter. 

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Lisa Iscrupe

Written by:

Lisa Iscrupe

Staff Writer

Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. … Read more